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The Urge to Elevate Climate Change Literacy

jejak langkah

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The 2015 Paris Agreement mandated global leaders to commit climate change mitigation and other feasible measures to ensure the global temperature rise less than 2 degrees celsius. Most countries choose energy transition, shifting from fossil-based energy systems to renewables one, as one of the strategies to embody the commitment. Energy transition is believed to be a strategic move to address climate issues since all sectors are using energy. However, it comes as well with a pack of challenges – especially for a country like Indonesia whose electricity system is centralized and moderated by the State. The shift of energy source related and might affect many aspects such as investment and suitable infrastructures for a power generator.

These issues have been taken into consideration why it is hard to do energy transition in Indonesia. Yet, Aris Prasetiyo, during the book review event “Jejak dan Langkah Energi Terbarukan di Indonesia” – as part of the Clean, Affordable and Secure Energy (CASE) for Southeast Asia – told that there is a bunch of best practices relying on local wisdom to live harmoniously with the Nature, and utilizing renewable energy in local community that do not require big capital nor certain policy. 

In this book, Aris for instance mentions a local practice in Aketajawe Halmahera, that each man of Tobelo Dalam Ethnic must plant 10 trees when they are getting married. The same goes once they had male newborn. The practice is regarded as the act of paying back to nature as they already provide those people abundant resources. Aris emphasized that the act of Tobelo Dalam Community is such a good social practice to elevate climate change literacy in Indonesia.

Meidella Syahni, moderator of the book launch as well as the researcher of Mongabay Indonesia, also emphasized the importance of climate change literacy that should be more massively done in Indonesia. “It’s the homework of modern society to spread climate literacy to stakeholders at various levels. For example, the Government of Indonesia and the House of Representative (DPR) are quick enough to ratify related regulations and policies, but in real terms, the impacts and results of these policies have not yet been realised for the global climate.”

Julius Adiatma, Researcher and Lead Author of the Report on Indonesia Energy Transition Outlook (IETO) 2022, IESR – who also participated in the discussion at this book review said that there were positive progress related to the climate change and energy transition issue which had become a trend as discussion topics. “We see that the government until 2021 has many agendas and plans. For example, there was a pledge to stop building coal-fired power plants and phase-out coal, then a net-zero target of 2070. We saw earlier that many government commitments have at least been made into policies, although they have not been implemented yet.” said Julius.

The discussions continued by topic ‘access to financing for renewable energy projects’, which are still considered a challenge for most renewable energy business enterprises. “That (energy transition) is a new thing for banks, especially local banks in Indonesia. I think we need to support them, increase their literacy in this issue so that access to capital and innovative financing schemes can also be provided by financial institutions.” said Julius answering questions from representatives of renewable energy project developers during the discussion.

Concluding the discussion, the moderator also conveyed the importance of reading this book to increase understanding of why energy transition and the use of renewable energy are important for the public in general. In addition, the panelists and moderators agreed that the most important thing to do now is to carry out the commitments that have been stated in ideas and policies.

“In the short term, we need to follow directions regarding the energy transition. Indonesia already has guidelines, what it wants to achieve in 2025, what it wants to achieve in 2050. We just need to do what needs to be done. In my opinion, the quickest thing to do is to shift to using electric vehicles, although it doesn’t necessarily change the electricity mix, but the climate-friendly messages that are conveyed are a good start as the first step in literacy related to climate change.” said Aris closing the discussion of the book review.

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